Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hatin' On The Media

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I'm growing concerned of the state of Midwesterners. First there was Colorado football head coach Dan Hawkins, my neighbor to the west. He is best known for his rant about parents complaining about the lack of time off his players get. You can listen to that here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=mF9jh4xALxE. Now, Oklahoma State's head coach Mike Gundy, my neighbor to the south, is getting a lot of airplay with his rant about journalists attacking collegiate players. I happen to agree with both coaches, but I don't know why they felt the need to pretend like they were attending Al Pacino's School of Acting.

Fact is, journalists shouldn't be attacking college players as if they were paid professionals. They should be able to, as freedom of the press allows, but morally they should stand back. The problem is there are too many journalists who will put morals behind in order to get a good story. When I was in school for journalism, morality, as we were told, was a "gray issue"; it's hard to draw a definitive line. The problem is that when writers consider their own values when coming up with a story, it might skew the facts. They are taught to be as objective as possible, putting in the bad as well as the good. I happen not to find anything morally questionable with the article in question. It seemed like a mediocre story about a team I care nothing about it, and if it weren't for Gundy's outburst, it would have stayed that way. But for what it's worth, coach Gundy does have a point, even if that point has nothing to do with him.

The majority of college athletes will never go pro and will lead normal lives like the rest of us. They go to class, they have girlfriends and boyfriends, and suffer the problems every young adult does. Add the pressure of collegiate athletics (especially in a state like Oklahoma, which has nothing else to do), and we're talking about a whole set of problems most people never have to deal with. Professionals get paid in the millions, so they shouldn't complain about anything. Kids in college however, do not.

I find it confusing to hear one coach scream in his best Sam Kinison voice, "It's Division I football! It ain't intramurals, brother!" and on the other end hear another coach say that his players are amateurs. Coaches want their players to act like professionals and get treated like kids. The mixed messages being sent are not good for anybody. I constantly rip on Notre Dame, but rarely (if ever) attack the players. The coaches are to blame for 90% of what goes on. So what's wrong with attacking the coaches? The article won't suffer, the writer won't suffer, the newspaper won't suffer, and none of the kids will suffer.

But it is nice to see that people are outraged by journalists, whether right or wrong. It's good to keep writers on their toes. Is there any reason to believe that the attacked writer won't be the most careful journalist in the country? I bet she will think twice before writing anything, which can only be a good thing. I see this as a healthy evolution; a natural distrust of the media. Add these stories with Vick, O.J. and everything else, and you'll notice people are finally paying attention. Well, until Paris Hilton gets another DUI, that is.

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